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WASHINGTON, DC—The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Board of Governors today approved $254 million in funding for 28 new research studies aimed at eliminating disparities in maternal morbidity and mortality, preventing suicide among young people, and improving behavioral health, maternal and infant outcomes, cancer care, surgical care and outcomes for people with chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

“These awards present significant opportunities to address pressing health challenges and empower patients and their families with actionable information about their health care choices,” said PCORI Executive Director Nakela L. Cook, M.D., M.P.H. “We are pleased to fund several studies that confront critical evidence needs to reduce disparities in maternal morbidity and mortality and improve outcomes for people living with intellectual and developmental disabilities, two of PCORI’s priority areas for research.”

Cook added, "Insights from these research projects will improve health care and health for individuals across the nation."

$33 Million: Improving Pre- and Post-Natal Care for Black, Latina Women and Their Children

Four studies approved for a total of $33 million will assess interventions to improve care during pregnancy and after childbirth to reduce the higher rates of health problems among Black women and Latinas and their infants. The largest will compare approaches to reducing the risk of low birth weight among Black infants, one focusing on multiple improvements within practices such as racial equity training for clinicians and using a “disparities dashboard” to share data about complications among patients in different racial groups with clinicians, and the other focusing on community-based, culturally tailored support provided by doulas.

Another study will compare usual care with a new model of maternity care that combines several strategies, including support from a Black midwife during pregnancy and delivery and a community-based doula after childbirth, to see if the additional culturally tailored care improves Black women’s experiences and outcomes.

A third study will compare two approaches to reduce the risk of heart disease, which causes nearly half of pregnancy-related deaths among Black women. Both approaches support healthy eating, physical activity, and self-monitoring of blood pressure; however, one adds community-based supports such as doula care and mental health services.

A fourth study will test whether integrating breastfeeding peer counseling into prenatal, delivery and postpartum care reduces disparities in breastfeeding outcomes among Black and Latina patients compared to standard inpatient breastfeeding support from nursing staff.

$58 Million: Preventing Youth Suicide

Five studies totaling $58 million will assess interventions to reduce suicide among adolescents and young adults, which is the second leading cause of death among U.S. youth ages 15-24.

The largest of these studies will compare two approaches to suicide prevention among 9,800 teens, a large enough number to see which approach works better for specific groups of young people. A second study will assess the comparative effectiveness of a cognitive behavioral family therapy crisis intervention delivered in emergency departments either with or without post-discharge care.

Three studies will compare whether tailoring suicide prevention strategies to youth populations with higher suicide rates leads to better outcomes. One study focuses on autistic youth, who are up to five times more likely to attempt suicide. The other studies will assess the effectiveness of culturally adapted interventions among Alaska Native youth, and sexual and gender diverse young adults.

$135 Million: Large Studies Tackle Complex Issues: Surgery, Stroke Care, Diabetes, Palliative Care

Several funding awards were the first made under a new PCORI funding opportunity that supports large, multiphase comparative clinical effectiveness research (CER) studies designed to fill critical gaps in evidence. The studies include the largest of the studies on suicide prevention mentioned above, as well as:

  • A study of anesthesia that will compare the quality of recovery and incidence of awareness during operations among 12,500 patients who receive anesthesia either through intravenous delivery of the drug propofol or by inhalation of anesthetic agents.
  • A study that will compare approaches using telemedicine and in-person care respectively to control blood pressure in the first six months following a stroke among 3,200 patients.
  • A study that will compare the effectiveness of two new classes of diabetes medications to one another and a combination of the two at preventing heart and kidney complications or death among 9,000 adults with Type 2 diabetes who have or are at high risk for heart disease.
  • A study that will compare outcomes among 1,150 patients with acute myelogenous leukemia who receive palliative care delivered either by palliative care specialists or oncology clinicians trained to provide palliative care.

$12 Million: Improving Care for People Living with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Two awards totaling $12 million will support studies assessing ways to deliver mental health care to young people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), who have higher rates of need and use of emergency care. One study will compare in-person delivery of a national model of crisis prevention and intervention services for people with IDD to a version of this model using telehealth to provide the services.

The other study will assess whether a care coordination program that includes a tailored behavioral health treatment component achieves better outcomes than a care coordination program that connects teens to community resources.

Details of these and other studies approved for funding by PCORI’s Board today are on the website. All funding awards were approved pending a business and programmatic review by PCORI staff and issuance of formal award contracts. With these latest awards, PCORI has invested about $3.2 billion to fund patient-centered CER and to support other projects designed to enhance CER methods and the infrastructure necessary to conduct CER rigorously and efficiently.

About PCORI

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is the nation’s leading funder of patient-centered comparative clinical effectiveness research (CER). By comparing two or more health or healthcare approaches, CER generates evidence that helps people make better-informed decisions and improves healthcare delivery and outcomes. PCORI takes a holistic approach to its work, ensuring that patients and other health decision makers are engaged as partners throughout the research process, supporting dissemination and implementation of results in practice and strengthening clinical research infrastructure to advance patient-centered CER. PCORI is an independent, non-profit organization authorized by Congress.

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